Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A Real Daughter


What to do when finding oneself, as a family history researcher, on the far side of a rabbit trail? 

In the case of our discoveries while examining the "F.A.N. Club" of my mother-in-law's possible fourth great-grandfather, we can't quite yet vacate our precarious position. After all, in our research wanderings yesterday, we not only learned something about the Guseman family of Monongalia County, but their possible connection to the Cobun family for whom Anthony Carroll's property was named.

It's on account of that Guseman discovery that we can't quite yet leave this topic.

Granted, the Susan Guseman we found was not the same person as the Susan, sister of Godfrey Guseman, mentioned in his will. That Susan, by the time of Godfrey's death in 1838, was already married to someone else. But it is not beyond possibilities that the name Susan was a significant namesake in the extended Guseman family—in other words, perhaps a cousin to the Guseman who married Anthony Carroll's daughter Margaret.

Because I had to check that out, it presented the opportunity to learn a bit more about what the Daughters of the American Revolution refer to as a "Real Daughter." And this particular Susan—or Susannah—Guseman certainly qualified as a "Real Daughter," revealing to us a bit about her roots in the process.

When the D.A.R. speaks of a "Real Daughter," they are not simply referring to any member of the organization—after all, every one of those members are addressed as "daughters." However, the designation of a "Real Daughter" signifies those women who joined the D.A.R. through the Revolutionary War service of their own father.

Although that designation represents a very special—and quite limited—category of members, there were more than a few who were recognized for that unique relationship. D.A.R. chapters in states such as New Hampshire, as you can imagine, have commemorated several "Real Daughters." Susannah herself, not long after her death, was included in a 1912 publication listing the D.A.R.'s "Real Daughters."

Susannah Guseman Cobun happened to be the daughter of a Patriot named Abraham Guseman. A soldier serving in the Berkeley County, Virginia, militia after enrolling at Harper's Ferry at the age of seventeen, Abraham served for seven years, over which time he was injured three times, including being struck with a bullet which he carried for the rest of his life.

This I first discovered while searching for Susannah's obituary, in an attempt to see whether she was the "Susan" connected with Godfrey Guseman, our Anthony Carroll's son-in-law. As often happens when we get lost on rabbit trails, I eventually discovered the answer was no—at least, as far as I can tell. But the obituary led to helpful information for creating a quick and dirty pedigree chart on this branch of the Guseman universe. Keep in mind that we are researching the cluster of friends, associates, and neighbors situated in a sparsely-populated wilderness emerging from a struggle for freedom with the world's current superpower. Where there was one Guseman family member, there likely would be more.

According to Susannah Guseman Cobun's obituary—dated March 23, 1910, and published in both the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post—she lived to be one hundred and one years of age. In both articles, it was mentioned specifically that she was a "Real Daughter" of the Revolution, naming her patriot father.

Susannah Cobun was a member of the Elizabeth Ludington Hagans Chapter of the D.A.R. in Morgantown, West Virginia. In 1924, the chapter placed a commemorative marker at her grave in the city's Oak Grove Cemetery. (Interestingly, while the marker spells her married name correctly, her entry as a descendant in the national D.A.R. records carries the oft-used alternate spelling we encountered yesterday, "Coburn.")

While it was exciting to discover a small vignette of our country's early history—and to see how close it came to connecting to my mother-in-law's own heritage—the Cobun and Guseman sagas did not specifically provide us the answers needed to connect Anthony Carroll's son-in-law, or the Cobun namesake for the property he once owned, to my mother-in-law's own line.

There is, however, another possible Guseman connection—but whether to believe the source of that information, I can't yet say. What that resource does promise, though, is another possible wild ride down yet one more rabbit trail.


  1. I didn't know about the designation of Real Daughter:)

    1. Well, I join you on that one! I didn't know, either...until I stumbled upon this one.

  2. Very interesting. I learn so much by reading your posts.

    1. Oh believe me, Miss Merry: I learn so much by writing them!


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